Dr Strange – Film Review 4/5 “non-stop from the word go” Wal Reid

Dr Strange – Film Review 4/5 “non-stop from the word go” Wal Reid

Director Scott Derrikson’s Marvel blockbuster Dr Strange is a visual effects rollercoaster ride that is non-stop from the word go, but unlike the juggernaut films of its predecessor’s bar maybe Antman, it has a decent storyline to match the astounding 3D effects.
The film is a welcome respite from the usual Marvel actor’s super heroes with English actor Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role as Dr Steven Strange, the gifted neuro surgeon who after a car accident sets course to Kathmandu to find a cure for his hands.
Of course, Strange learns secrets and endless wisdom tit bits now found on Facebook wall post memes and ends up fighting antagonist Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and the dark forces of Dormammu on Earth with a couple of his minions – a tall order perhaps? Not for the caped one, obviously.

While not a fan of Rachel McAdams, Captain America or Spidey didn’t stop me enjoying this movie. Cumberbatch overall does a decent job of bringing Steve Ditko’s Marvel comic hero to life, although he flipped in and out of his half Pom/American accent frequently, I conceded to his cool demeanour, a fallible but good guy underneath his arrogant Sherlock-esque superhuman form, which he plays to a tee.
Great to see Chiwetel Ejiofor back in films as the elusive Karl Mordo the student of the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) is delicious as evil baddie Kaecilius who goes awol bending reality on modern day Earth to track down Strange in a classic ‘cat and mouse’ game, both provide backbone to the film, while Tilda Swinton looking Airbender-ish as The Ancient One rounds off a solid and effective cast.

It’s a film I think will have mass appeal, there’s a great dollop of humour that is now becoming a trait with these movies (Deadpool, Guardians, Antman) and Cumberbatch in the lead role will garnish interest outside his Sherlock realm. I was impressed by the 3D which back in the day caused headaches and that was before putting on the glasses, and the visual fest isn’t distracting to the point of switching off the watcher’s attention.

In my opinion Dr Strange is way better than Superman’s latest outing, think of it as Harry Potter for older kids, if you enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy or Antman, Cumberbatch’s Dr Strange will hold you spellbound.

House For Rent – Movie Review by Yulia Podrul “Fresh, delicious comedy” 4.5/5

House For Rent – Movie Review by Yulia Podrul “Fresh, delicious comedy” 4.5/5

If you want to find out what a real holiday for Russians is like, I suggest you see this light, sweet, easy and humorous comedy. Director Vera Storozheva takes us to a little paradise in Crimea, a well-known holiday destination for us Russians. I personally was excited to watch her new film that was launched earlier this month, considering my mother was born and raised in Crimea – its a very scenic and attractive place by the Black Sea.

The comedy reveals legit situations that could happen to anybody. I’m talking exclusively about Russians, and most likely women. Because only women can be so enthusiastic about their holiday houses they will be renting out by the beach. Perhaps also, only women can book their holiday with someone (I’m not talking about a travel agent, but a random person, or a fraud) who will simply rip them off by renting out somebody else’s holiday home to a few strangers simultaneously.

Could it get even more random? The Russian approach is, don’t panic if you see three other women with their kids in the house that you supposedly rented out for yourself. Simply have breakfast together and go to the beach for more adventures and disasters. Russian actresses Svetlana Hodchenkova, Irina Pegova, Victoria Isakova and Nina Dvorzhetckaya brilliantly show us how real woman can keep it together without ruining anybody’s holiday.

I genuinely liked the movie, and wish we can have more fresh, delicious and easy comedies like this film. We should start thinking of how we can make people is film teaches and surprise them with unexpected scenarios that indeed could happen in real life, with no intentions of cruelty or darkness. Leave that job for the news and talk shows; they have enough ruthless sensationalised news stories from around the world that reflect this reality.

Many of us are lucky to wake up every morning with a smile, this film teaches us to keep smiling and appreciate those awkward, humorous situations that director Storozheva has exposed us to in her latest film. Must see.

Kiwi Movie Star In New Fassbender Movie The Light Between Oceans

20161006_205130Wal pictured with Kiwi star from The Light Between Oceans Caren Pistorious

The Light Between Oceans Film is based on thCaren Pistorious wh has starred with Hollywoods Michael Fassbender in not one but two films – no mean feat.

The best-seller by ML Stedman and stars our own actress   The Light Between Oceans Film stars Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander as Tom and Isabel, a lighthouse-tending couple who stumble upon a boat carrying a dead man and a baby. Tom and Isabel decide to raise the child as their own, with emotionally tortuous consequences.



First Look At New Blondini Gang Pork Pie Trailer


Kiwi’s will get their first peek at the accidental outlaws better known as the Blondini Gang today, with the launch of the official trailer for the film.

PORK PIE is an action-packed reimagining of the iconic 1981 kiwi classic, Goodbye Pork Pie and stars Dean O’Gorman (The Hobbit, Trumbo, The Almighty Johnsons)James Rolleston (Boy, The Dark Horse) and Ashleigh Cummings (Puberty Blues, Tomorrow when the War Began).  The reboot is set to charge into cinemas around the country on Waitangi Weekend, February 2nd 2017, with the dating playing homage to original film (which was released on Waitangi Day in 1981).

Making remarkable progress from his recent injuries, James Rolleston, who plays Luke Anahera, is super-excited for kiwi audiences to see the finished product and is confident that it’s destined to create a whole new generation of PORK PIE fans.

“I had the most fun of my career making this film.” Says Rolleston. “It was great to be involved in a real kiwi comedy with Dean and Ash, and I reckon kiwis are going to love it!   I can’t wait to share it with my friends and family and the wider public of Aotearoa.”

Dean O’Gorman, who plays Jon, a failing writer desperate to win back the love of his life, describes being involved in the project a career highlight. 

“I spent almost six weeks in a MINI Cooper with James Rolleston driving the length of the country and it was hands down one of the best filming experiences I have ever had” says O’Gorman. “It was incredible to meet a whole bunch of New Zealanders right across the country and hear their affection for the original and excitement for what we were going to do with it.”

True to its original roots, the 2016 production of PORK PIE was a family affair.  The film was written and directed by Matt Murphy, son of the director of the original film’s director, Geoff Murphy.  Adding to the family connection, Matt’s brother, Miles Murphy, was the second unit director; his sister Robin was the Location Manager; and his daughter, Saoirse was a costume assistant. with Bruno Lawrence’s daughters Veronique and Melissa were script supervisors and his granddaughter Lily worked in the art department.

Director Matt Murphy is thrilled with the finished product.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved,” says Murphy. “I think we’ve succeeded in harnessing the spirit of Dad’s film while delivering some great entertainment for a new generation. We’ve made our own road to Invers with this film, but theres no mistaking it’s from the same family as the original”.


Hell Or High Water – Film Review 5/5 “Top Pick” By Blomf


Glenn Blomfield – ‘Hell or High Water’ is a masterpiece, extremely well crafted film. Written by Taylor Sheridan, who also wrote the excellent film ‘SICARIO’ 2015. Directed by David Mackenzie, from UK (Young Adam 2003, Perfect Sense 2011), making an all American modern day Western Thriller, set in the dusty outbacks of Texas.

Two brothers, one a divorced father and the other a ex-con (Chris Pine, and Ben Foster) are doing a chain of bank heist robberies, hot on their trail is two Texan Rangers. You know from the upset this can not end well. The drama of all the main characters draw you into a tale of morality, emotionally challenging you. I was completely enthralled with all the characters, and their moving story of what possible futures hold for them all.

The film felt perfectly casted with outstanding work, Ben Foster was formidable, Chris Pine turning in a surprising great role, and Jeff Bridges as always masterful. David Mackenzie directed a very strongly crafted film, pulling you in straight away with a confident opening long one shot, I felt instantly I was in deft hands and in for a great thrilling ride. Soundtrack needs special mentioning, Nick Cave & Warren Ellis brooding Western music, melds wonderfully.

In congruent along in the forefront of the film is the reality of a world, where we are owned by the Banks, preying over you, foreclosing on your Home/Ranch, your lively hood. This is the main driving force behind the two brothers. On the other hand the Texan Ranger (Jeff Bridges) is facing retirement, and he seems lost with what lays ahead of him. This is a very smart, fantastic genre film, you understand the direction and purpose of every character, with life’s challenges and complexities.

This film feels destined to be a modern classic. This is why I love going to the movies! so far my top pick for the year!


An Interview With Mel Parsons

An Interview With Mel Parsons

Singer/song writer Mel Parson’s is sporting a hella-cool blue leather jacket.  Smiling as we exchange greetings, sitting down to chat. “ I brought it in Melbourne I think” she says of her cool sartorial purchase, my coffee arrives as if perfectly timed to start the interview.

Parsons released her third full length album Drylands last year to critical acclaim, the young Kiwi songstress returning from an arduous 23-date headline tour of NZ, following performances at WOMAD, Woodford Folk Festival (AU), Folk Alliance International (US), and Byron Bay Bluesfest this summer. Since it’s release Drylands has spent 32 weeks in the IMNZ album charts, peaking at No.2.

The release came after an intense few years of relentless touring and festival performances both in her home-country and internationally, and she is now back for a quick break from her Canadian tour before the jaunt back there this month.

“It’s awesome, its great. They’re really cool. My music seems to be a good fit there so when there’s somewhere that you find is a good fit then that’s a great place to tour you know? It’s a good fit for what I do, there’s a great Indie Folk scene over there.”

With a wide breadth of material, Parsons has a dynamic song writing range: from the gutsy rhythmic hand-clappers like audience favourite Far Away, through to pin-drop ballads like Don’t Wait featuring iconic Canadian songwriter Ron Sexsmith.

“I think that North American audiences in general are more enthusiastic than Kiwis” she says.  “I think that we’re quite laid back and sometimes can be quite stand offish – but not in a bad way.  I have a great audience here and great supporters that come out but its just how they respond differently to things – its all good. There’s people that enjoy music everywhere.”

“I grew up on a farm” she begins.  “Me and my siblings all had piano lessons when we were quite small. I was actually really ratchet at the piano, I’m embarrassed.  I’ve had eleven years of piano lessons and could only play you half a song right now – Sorry mum & dad about that.”

Recounting her childhood days, she was a typical “outdoors” kid, recalling the numerous farm animals she had “Hundreds of them” she says smiling, while admitting growing up in a “close family” in the small South Island town of Westport had its charm.  Her musical nous temporarily dormant while her future mapped out, thanks in large to an active and mentally stimulating upbringing.

“It was a mix where I went to school” she picks up.  “It was a really small school. One of the great things about that, was that you could do everything.  You could be in all of the sports teams, be in the school production and you could learn everything. I could do horse riding and play rugby, lots of stuff. I was pretty busy and we spent a lot of time skiing when were growing up.”

“I got really addicted to guitar early on.” She continues.  “I didn’t consider it seriously until I was seventh form when I applied to music school in Nelson.  From there, I started to realise I might be able to makecareer out of it I guess. You have no idea how to do it, you just start doing it.”

The Silver Scroll finalist doesn’t recall writing her first song cordially remarking “No luckily” while adding playing music gave her a “buzzy feeling” and had never considered people might enjoy her music – funny enough, she is the only one in her family who has followed music. “It’s only me crazy enough to do this” she laughs.

“I remember I was a round a camp fire somewhere with friends of my sister.  I use to play the guitar everywhere, I’d be so into it but I’m totally the opposite now. But I remember overhearing somebody say “Oh wow. She’s really good, she could be a professional” and I thought “What?” I had never really considered it.”

Music is a driving force in the nomadic singer’s life, sometimes being a musician can be a hard slog however she is more pragmatic and less philosophical in her approach choosing to side between being well known or simply playing her music.

“Oh the music definitely.” She says confidently. “I don’t have a big profile. It’s not like I’m Dave Dobbyn or someone everybody knows, but I think being well known is a bi-product of doing well. If it’s the other way around then I think there’s something seriously wrong.  I know the desire to be famous but the reason that we need the profile is so that we can tour and people can buy the works off that and we can continue to create. It’s a necessary part of it. I think there are lots of people who choose not to have a public profile, but you need it to be able to tour and for people to know about your music.”

“I’ve always been independent.” She continues.  “Mum and dad are very practical people so we grew up on a farm, its pretty tough rugged and dirty, you end up being quite capable really that definitely helps in this industry because reality is I’m an independent and for most that’s a reality  – Yeah, I think its definitely helped to be adaptable, work harder.”

Being independent is a maxim that has seen the talented singer/songwriter rise to the top of her field, honing her musical skills she travels the world and holds her musical contemporaries in high regard.  Supporting her friends whenever she can has seen her join the likes of Barnaby Weir’s supergroup Fly My Pretties and other local artist tours both here and overseas.

“There’s a nice community a really supportive group” she mulls.  “We’re all doing the same thing so we all support each other.  I work with a lot of people but ones that I work a good amount with are Anika, we’re about to go on tour to Australia later in the year and Anna Coddington, Tami, Angie Sami loads of people.”

As she winds up her North American Tour of Canada before coming home for her Woolshed Tour with actresses Amelia Dunbar and Emma Newborn (Sons Of A Bitch), and just before heading to Oz with Anika Moa, it seems Mel Parsons could also be one of the most busiest touring artists as well.

“Everyone’s job is hard isn’t it really?” she says,  “You can work as hard as you like or not. I don’t know if I particularly believe in luck so much you know? It’s like that saying “it’s a combination of hard work” and whatever the other thing is ..opportunity or whatever. Luck comes when you work hard. I don’t think you can hang round and get lucky. It gives me a lot of energy, I guess that’s my drive really.”

Devilskin Add Australian Dates To Summer Tour


Devilskin at last years Vodafone Music Awards with Wal

DEVILSKIN will tour New Zealand with the Be Like The River tour this summer. The band have now added 3 huge additional international gigs supporting Grammy Award winning US band HALESTORM in Australia.

10th January Corner Hotel, Melbourne

11th January Factory Theatre, Sydney

12th January Triffid, Brisbane

In other exciting news SKINNY HOBOS are joining the tour and will support Devilskin and City Of Souls on the seven North Island tour.

For further information visit: www.facebook.com/DevilskinNZ or www.Devilskin.co.nz


I, Daniel Blake – Movie Review 4.5/5 "Touched me to my very core" Glenn Blomfield

I, Daniel Blake – Movie Review 4.5/5 "Touched me to my very core" Glenn Blomfield


Powerful British movie, Directed by 79 yr old Ken Loach, reaching at the Human soul, a film that is a time machine showing people how our social lives have deteriorated. I could not shake this film after viewing, grasping at me how has society has gotten so far away from our need for the common good of man.

Lead character is Daniel Blake, in his late fifties, life has thrown him a curve ball, he has suffered a heart attack, he is now in the hands of the Welfare State System. His health is holding him back from returning to his Carpenters job. Daniels life now is battling a rabbit warren of bureaucracy.

You feel his frustrations, the absurdity, the film plays strong on its political social comments, but also at play is a powerful heartfelt drama, that pulled me emotionally in. Daniel meets a solo mother with two young children, also being bounced around the futile State system, there lives become intertwined, a moving tale of friendship.

Ken Loach directing approach is non-instrusive. Like a fly on the wall, the camera stands back capturing a world that is natural, the actors appear as real people whose lives is documented, as if they not aware of cameras following them. The drama feels real, the humour is honest. It is clear to me why this film won the Palme d’Or for Best Film at Cannes. ‘I, Daniel Blake’ touched me to my very core, excellent, emotionally powerfully.


Deepwater Horizon Film Review. 5/5 “Spot on” Yulia Podrul


I can definitely tell you that this film exceeded my expectations. It’s a good quality story based on a true event that happened on April 20, 2010 when Deepwater Horizon, the offshore drilling rig exploded, making it one of the worst environmental disasters in world history.

Director Peter Berg, taps into our heart as the first scene with a documentary tape recording of a survivor’s recount in court, tells the story of that fateful disaster. My pulse started racing when I heard the recording realising it was actually real audio. My eyes and ears wide open for almost two hours, such was the impact of this film.

The movie reminded me of Cameron’s Titanic, exploring the deep waters a few years after the disaster happened. In fact, watching the film preview recalled those feelings I had as a youngster watching the Titanic. Both were true events, both emotional, both disasters that shocked the world, however, the subtext of ‘Deepwater Horizon’ is a lot more complex. It’s political, conspiratorial and controversial undertones played out on the big screen, I found I was hit with emotions from all angles.

Mark Wahlberg plays hero Mike Williams brilliantly, reflecting the pain of a real survivor. Peter Berg demonstrates the mechanics of the explosion after the failed negative pressure test with dramatic pace, while money and business, forces that drive the oil industry, seem to risk the lives of many.

Lots of evidence about the explosion of the drilling rig were hidden behind the scenes. The truth is yet to be revealed. You won’t waste two hours of your time if you decide to go and watch the film. Maybe you will even take away a good life lesson. Deepwater Horizon is a strong and emotional roller coaster of a film, it’s spot on.

Mockingbird: A Black Comedy about Mental Health – "You’ll laugh you’ll ponder" Review by Jarred Tito


To date I can’t remember a time when I have had such an enjoyable and entertaining evening at the theatre that deals with such a sensitive and often stigmatised subject, mental illness. Lisa Brickell (writer and lead) has put together a delightful, humorous and touching story of a family which has struggled with a history of Post-Partum Affective Disorder (Post Natal Depression) and has opened the birdcage up on few personal truths and family skeletons which both shock and delight.

Initially, Mockingbird, was written as a solo act that included touches of musical accompaniments and vocal prompts by Sarah Macombee, musical director, but now has been developed into a two hander play which allows both Lisa and Sarah to offer generous helpings of drama, song and irony. I might also add at this point that the ‘comic timing’ from the Mockingbird duo is quite superb.

There is an ample amount of characters in the play which are shared by Lisa and Sarah. Lisa taking the lead characters and Sarah playing the quite hilarious supporting roles as well as providing the live music. The two really do work well together like well-oiled peddles on a bike. Their timing and delivery of lines is second to none.

I found myself lost in this wonderfully told story from the beginning to the end. I enjoyed meeting all of the characters as they were unfurled by Lisa who has done exceptionally well with the script. For such a complicated story which stretches over more than three generations of quite complex characters, Mockingbird is surprisingly easy to follow. The play is based on real events and is very thoughtful and considerate as well as being delivered brilliantly. You’ll laugh you’ll ponder. You may even shed a tear.

I highly recommend a viewing of this extremely well done play. The show is on until Saturday the 8th at The Basement Theatre Auckland.

Written and Performed By Lisa Brickell

Music written and performed By Sarah Macombee

Directed By Giovanni Fusetti and Ruth Dudding